Life is like a packet of soy sauce—just don’t ask me how

You know those little packets of soy sauce? The ones that come with Chinese take-out? The ones that are nearly impossible to open?
We have dozens of them. I keep them in the cupboard, and they pile up for months until one day we need soy sauce and realize we are out. Yesterday I pulled out a few of those packets for the boys to use for lunch.
I left the room for a moment and as I walked back in, our 6-year-old was opening the soy sauce packet, and it exploded. Soy sauce went everywhere.
His face was drenched, and his shirt was soaked through. The sauce splattered all over the table, the dining room chairs, the carpet, his brother, and me. I have never seen so much soy sauce in one place.
When I looked in our son’s hands, I realized that half of the packet was still full.
I couldn’t believe it. When you look at those packets, you think they barely have anything in there—maybe a tablespoon of sauce? But if you had seen our dining room today, you would realize that there must be gallons of sauce inside.

Afterward, because I love metaphors, I was thinking about how life is like a packet of soy sauce. How, you ask?
  • It’s pretty tasty no matter what you pair it with.
  • You might think it will be be easy to manage, but it can be one huge mess.
  • Even when you think you have everything under control, one little thing can change your day.
  • The craziest problems can bring the biggest laugh.
  • You can talk on and on about the advantages of using low-sodium soy sauce. In the end, when it’s in every nook and cranny of the room, soy sauce is soy sauce.
Come to think of it, maybe life is more like a packet of duck sauce: it tastes so good you could practically eat it alone…or if you’re a member of my household, you already do.
Oh, and after my trip to the store, I realized we did have another bottle of soy sauce awaiting us in the pantry. But now at least we have another family story: The Day the Soy Sauce Packet Exploded. So it was worth it.

And now I really could go for some Chinese food.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.